Home left standing after Rosewood massacre to be moved to Archer

Nathan Law

A 166-year-old piece of history sought after by activists will finally be preserved as a place to teach the community about an overlooked and bloody massacre in nearby Levy County. On July 14, the Real Rosewood Foundation announced it will soon own the John Wright House, the only building to […]

A 166-year-old piece of history sought after by activists will finally be preserved as a place to teach the community about an overlooked and bloody massacre in nearby Levy County.

On July 14, the Real Rosewood Foundation announced it will soon own the John Wright House, the only building to withstand an angry Ku Klux Klan mob that set fire to the mostly Black town of Rosewood almost 100 years ago.

Lizzie Jenkins stands in front of the John Wright home, where she has given many tours. The two-story structure was once the home of John Wright, a general store owner at the time of the 1923 massacre, which was the focus of the film

The foundation works to locate Rosewood survivors and descendants while preserving the history of the massacre.

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Lizzie Jenkins, the group’s CEO, said it was her enthusiasm for the Wright House’s history that secured the donation.

Last year, Jenkins introduced herself to Ian Stone, who bought the Wright House in April 2020, while leading a tour group at a nearby Rosewood memorial site. 

“I think he picked up the passion in my heart,” she said.

During another visit to the house in February, Stone told Jenkins he and his wife were selling the house. Stone initially offered the building to Jenkins for $100,000, provided the group could move the house off of the property.

In July, Jenkins, members of the foundation and the Stone family met to discuss details of the sale over lemonade and cookies on the porch of the Wright House.

But Stone revealed he planned to donate the building to the Real Rosewood Foundation.

A photo on display at the Thomas Center in Gainesville in January 2009 shows a burning cabin from the Rosewood community.

“All of us almost fell over out of our chairs,” Jenkins said. “I was just absolutely taken aback.”

Foundation hopes to build small replica of Rosewood in Archer

The Real Rosewood Foundation has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Stones and expects to receive a deed for the building soon. In the meantime, the foundation is working on a way to move the house off of the Stones’ property and onto its own about 35 miles away.

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